NEW YORK (AP) - It's probably a good bet that rule 7.13 will cause a lot of confusion in Major League Baseball this season. This is the new rule regarding home plate collisions and MLB has attempted to explain how it works.
In short, most home plate collisions have been banned but there are exceptions.
A comment attached to the rule states failure by the runner to make an effort to touch the plate, the runner's lowering of the shoulder, or the runner's pushing through with his hands, elbows or arms, would support a determination that the runner deviated from the pathway in order to initiate contact with the catcher in violation.
A runner who violates the rule shall be declared out even if the catcher drops the ball.
If a catcher blocks home plate without possession of the ball, the runner shall be safe. However, a catcher may block the plate to field a throw if the umpire determines the catcher could not have otherwise fielded the ball and that contact with the runner could not have been avoided.
The new rule, which has been approved by both MLB and the players' association, is being tried on a one-year experimental basis.